Merlot is the red-wine success of the 1990s: its popularity has soared along with its acreage, and it seems wine lovers can't get enough of it. It dominates Bordeaux, except for the Medoc and Graves. Although it is mainly used as a supporting player in the Bordeaux blend, it can stand alone. Several styles of Merlot have emerged in California. One is a Cabernet-style Merlot, which includes a high percentage (up to 25 percent) of Cabernet blended into the Merlot. A second style is less reliant on Cabernet, so it yields a softer, suppler, medium-weight, less tannic wine that features more herb, cherry and chocolate flavors. A third style is a very light and simple wine; this type's sales are fueling Merlot's overall growth.
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